BICESTER Village’s rocketing popularity with overseas visitors has seen sales go up by 20 per cent this year.
The designer goods emporium reports an increase of 72 per cent in visitors from China, an increase of 64 per cent in visitors from Kuwait, and an increase of 47 per cent in visitors from Malaysia on last year.
The increase demonstrates there is still huge international demand for designer brands, despite the global recession.
But Bicester Village is not resting on its laurels, and is working hard to increase its share of the retail tourism market.
Bicester Village spokesman Miranda Markham said: “The sales trend is at 20 per cent at the moment.
“It has surprised a lot of people.”
She added: “Tourism generally is doing very well.
“We’ve been investing in the sort of initiatives that are going to differentiate us from other kinds of retail.”
She said one example of the investment is Bicester Village’s customised coach service from London.
Use of the service has increased by 90 per cent on the year to date, said Mrs Markham.
“We’re going to continue with that project and invest even more,” she added.
Mrs Markham said another success story had been an increase in the number of shoppers arriving by train.
“Notwithstanding the current downturn, they’re up 26 per cent,” she said.
A new visitor centre and concierge-style service are also in the pipeline.
Helen Peters, tourism manager at Bicester Village, said: “We work very closely with Visit Britain.
“We get a group of 70 to 100 tour organisers, and we get the chance to promote an opportunity to them.
“They then put trips together for their individual countries.
“In that way, we very much promote Oxfordshire as a day trip or a two-day trip.”
Mrs Markham added: “It’s putting Oxfordshire on the map. We’ve upped the ante.”
Although the Olympics may be causing a temporary dip in the number of shoppers, Mrs Markham said she was expecting strong sales growth as a result of the London Games.